Friday, 25 March 2016

Leicestershire Family History

Thringstone and the Toones

It is now time to move away from Somerset and my 13th century ancestors the Mohuns and from the Mitchells my 19th century ancestors in the county of Cornwall and travel all the way up country to Leicestershire.

Thringstone in Leicestershire was the home of my 4x great grandfather James Toone, he was born there in 1767.

Thringstone is a village in the north east of the country, many of its inhabitants at that time were employed in the frame work knitting industry, but with the arrival of the cotton mills my family were forced to find work elsewhere and that meant a move to the coalfields of Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire.

Just over two hundred years before the birth of James there were only twenty six families in Thringstone and only forty two in the two neighouring villages of Whitwick and Swannington.

Where was everybody? Well, in the late 14th century the Black Death devastated the village seeing off nearly everybody. 
My family, it seems, were one of the lucky ones.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Thomas of Lancaster

Executed this day in 1322.
"And now I shall tell you of the noble Earl Thomas of Lancaster. When he was taken and brought to York, many of the city were full glad, and upon him cried with high voice "Ah, Sir Traitor! Now shall you have the reward that long time you have deserved!""

It was in 1322 at Pontefract Castle, King Edward I's ‘key to the north’ that Thomas of Lancaster finally received his 'reward.'

Lancaster had been a supporter of Edward II, but like many within the realm he was angered by the kings reliance on his favourites, namely Piers Gaveston. Lancaster was among a number of men who were intent of seeing off Gaveston, they succeeded in 1312, when he was executed near Kenilworth in Warwickshire, on land belonging to Lancaster. Gaveston's death is thought to be at the top of the list of reasons as to why Lancaster was executed.

My blog continues on my website at

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Family History: 1767 - 1922 A Cornish Farming Family

A Cornish Farming Family 
During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Cornwall had grown prosperous from agriculture, unlike today, agriculture was the mainstay of the counties economy, an economy which was based on small farms, most with under one hundred acres of land that specialised in dairy, stock rearing and horticulture. Horses had replaced oxen and winter crops were grown and the potato was the staple diet of the poor. A thriving market gardening industry appeared towards the end of the 1900’s growing spring crops such as carrots, cabbages and onions. 

It was during this period that my 4x great grandfather, William Mitchell, farmed over 90 acres of land on the west coast of Cornwall.
Farming in Cornwall
The eighteenth century saw the end of the Stuart period and the beginning of the Georgian age, it was an age of expansion, an age of inventions that brought changes to the textile industry, the mining industry and in agriculture.  In 1761, six years before the birth of William Mitchell, George III was crowned king of England. Remembered mostly for his spells of ‘madness’ he was also famous for his passionate interest in agriculture and because of this nicknamed Farmer George. It was during his reign that England underwent an agricultural revolution where men such as Jethro Tull from Berkshire and Robert Bakewell from Leicestershire are credited  with improving the life of those working on the land. During this time farming output almost doubled, an increase in the use of crops grown as food for animals allowed farmers to keep more livestock and this meant more meat was produced and sold in the markets to feed the growing population. This revolution saw the introduction of new systems of cropping and selective breeding but interestingly, it has been argued that this revolution did not happen at all, that the increase in farm production was a slow progress of events beginning in mid sixteenth century and ending in the eighteenth. This agricultural revolution occurred at the same time as the more famous Industrial Revolution and Cornwall could lay claim to at least seven inventors in engineering alone, men like Sir Humphrey Davey, Adrian Stephens, and Henry Trengrouse. These Cornish born engineers were  at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution but it was mining engineer Richard Trevithick whose invention benefited both industry and agriculture. 
My families story continues on my website

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Rhys ap Thomas: Boasting of Killing a King

When the remains of Richard III were found in 2012, it was discovered that he had sustained a number of injuries during the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 where he fought for his crown. 

On examination, Richard's skull presented a number of wounds, two of which were massive. The first wound examined is consistent with a halberd or something similar being used. The second was a jagged hole where a bladed weapon had been thrust right through the bone, resulting in an indention opposite this wound, showing that the blade had penetrated into the kings head to a depth of 10.5cm.

Both injuries would have ended the kings life, but which came first?

What doe's history tell us?

Find out more on my Wars of the Roses blog on my website

Saturday, 5 March 2016

King Henry II of England

Henry II was born the eldest of three sons to Empress Matilda and Geoffrey, Count of Anjou.

Henry II, as king of England, owes his place on the throne to the early death of William Adelin, his uncle and King Henry I’s only son and heir, who had perished when a ship in which he was travelling sank in the English Channel. What followed is known as the Anarchy, an era of broken promises and a major fallout between cousins
King Henry II was no clotheshorse, he cared little for appearance and he did love kingship, or at least everything that came with it. He was often rude and had a quick temper, quite a match for the wonderfully feisty Eleanor of Aquitaine who he married in the May of 1152. His children with Eleanor, among others, were Henry, Richard, Geoffrey and John.

For more about Henry II please click on the link to my website. 

St Piran Cornwall's Patron Saint

Happy St Piran's Day to you all.

The Cornish cheered loudly when work began to uncover the ancient St Piran’s Oratory in Perranporth, it has taken the St Piran’s Trust fifteen years of campaigning to achieve this.

Today, is St Pirans Day where the Cornish celebrate the landing on a small Cornish beach many many years ago of St Piran.

You can read more about Cornwall's patron saint on my website.